News may be defined as noteworthy information about recent or important events. The plural of our English word “new” comes from the Latin word “nova,” meaning “new things.” The major TV networks like ABC, CBS or NBC had journalists overseas who were foreign correspondents. They fired them in the 1980s and closed down their overseas units to save money.

Today, the evening news has become mostly provincial in nature, and to boot, we’re saturated with commercials dealing with the latest version of a new drug. As a result, the general public gets the message to ask their doctors whether drugs x, y, or z is “right for them.” Does that imply that most doctors are imbeciles when it comes to prescribing a particular drug for their patient’s condition? 

If I took seriously what the ads tell us to do, I would have a list of hundreds of medicines and would ask my primary physician if they’re “right for me.” At the same time, some drug companies are telling us to contact them if a particular drug is too expensive, and the company will help them pay for the drug. Is this not strange?  

And while hawking a particular drug, we see in the background a family having a great time on the beach while they’re told the deleterious side effects of a particular drug. Often, the side effects appear to be more injurious to one’s health than the actual drug that’s being hawked on the air waves. Is this in the best interests of the general public?

It appears that the media no longer cover important news around the world. Lately, we’ve been told about the collapse of the apartment complex in Surfside, Florida and are bombarded by minute details and developments every hour of every day. This is an awfully sad tragedy and rightfully has been in the news every day for over a week. On the other hand, we are not told about the new cold war tango in the Black Sea. Why not?

Russia reported in late June that its airplanes dropped bombs and fired warning shots near the HMS Defender, a British destroyer cruising near Crimea in the Black Sea. Vladimir Putin remarked that if this happens again, the Russian navy would sink the destroyer and put the world on the brink of WWIII.

This entire matter did not happen according to British officials in London. Yet this entire incident may be read in the Asia Times on July 5, 2021. I haven’t seen this incident discussed in the major news outlets and wonder why not? Why don’t they cover important news stories globally as does the BBC?

I find it necessary to read online newspapers like The Guardian (Manchester, England), the Asian Times, Al-Jazeera, Reuter News, The Drudge Report, and the China Times to keep up with the daily news around the globe.  I also appreciate the blog, Informed Comment, edited by Juan Cole, a history professor from the University of Michigan. He’s very informed about the situation in the Middle East. Other noteworthy news outlets are Truthout, The Conversation, and especially the Middle East Monitor. 

Richard Penaskovic is an Emeritus Professor at Auburn University. His writings have appeared in the Birmingham News, Columbus-Ledger Enquirer, Montgomery Advertiser and online by Informed Comment and Politurco.

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